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Eco Shack

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Welcome to this unit of study. This Unit Guide provides important information and should be kept as a reference to assist with your studies. This Guide includes information about your reading and resources, independent learning, class activities and assessment tasks. It is recommended that you read this Guide carefully: you will be expected to manage your learning as you work towards successful study.

Detailed information and learning resources for this unit have also been provided on the Unit website on WebCT/Blackboard which can be reached via the Student Portal at
It is important that you access your Unit website regularly.

Please also refer to information provided on the Student Portal that supports studying at VU.

Acknowledgement of Country
We respectfully acknowledge and recognise the traditional owners, their Elders past and present, their descendants and kin as the custodians of this land.



Acknowledgement of Country

Introduction to the unit 2

Indicative schedule for this unit 5

Assessment details 6

Succeeding at Victoria University 8

Providing feedback: Student Evaluation System 9

Introduction to the unit

|Unit Title: Technology of Music and Audio |
|Unit Code: ACO1010 |Year: 2014 |Semester: 1 |Credit Points: 12 |
|Other details: |

|Key staff |
|Unit co-ordinator |Name: Robert Bell |Campus: |
| |Location: Footscray Park & Kindred Studios |Footscray Park |
| |Contact number: +61 3 9919 2359 |Days and times: |
| |Contact email: |Lecture: Tuesday 3pm Tutorials: Tuesday 4pm and 6pm |
| | | |
| | |Kindred Studios |
| | |Tutorials: Thursday 1pm and 3pm |
| | | |
|Teaching team |Lecturer: Robert Bell. Tutors: Matthew Bray (Tuesdays); Darren Reston (Thursdays) |

Unit description
This unit of study provides an introduction to the essential roles digital technologies perform in modern music composition, production and performance. A brief historical and cultural overview of music technology provides a context for appreciating the techniques commonly used today and in the future. Students learn basic theoretical principles of digital audio and MIDI, with an emphasis on musical applications. Various computer-based techniques are introduced, including: MIDI sequencing and control; digital audio editing, mixing and processing; plug-ins and 'virtual instruments'; and music notation. Students are asked to consider and discuss the influences of software-based tools, digital media and the Internet on modern music composition, production and distribution, and how these tools influence the practices of professional musicians today.





Mode of delivery

Face to Face

Learning Outcomes

At the completion of this unit, students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key theoretical concepts and terminology related to music technology; 2. Operate a range of industry-standard music software including MIDI sequencers, digital audio workstations and music notation software; 3. Apply their skills and knowledge of technology to compositional and performance contexts; 4. Provide thoughtful comment on the history and culture of technology in music, and how it relates to the modern professional musician.

Learning and teaching strategies

Problem-based learning; Learning in the Workplace and Community; Online and e-learning

Graduate Capabilities

|Problem solve in a range of settings |3 |
|Locate, critically evaluate, manage and use written, numerical and electronic information |3 |
|Communicate in a variety of contexts and modes |3 |
|Work both autonomously and collaboratively |3 |
|Work in an environmentally, socially and culturally responsible manner |3 |
|Manage learning and career development opportunities |3 |

In addition to discipline knowledge, skills and their application, the study of this unit is intended to contribute to students developing the capabilities needed to be:

• Adaptable and capable 21st century citizens who can communicate effectively, work collaboratively, think critically and solve complex problems

In this unit you will receive feedback on your development of key aspects of the above graduate capabilities through:

• Feedback provided upon marking and return each of your assessment tasks

• Feedback provided through the soundpunk discussion forum

Required readings

Vines, RD 2008, Composing digital music for dummies, Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Recommended readings

Recommended readings will be provided in class and on WebCT

Indicative schedule for ACO1010 Technology of Music and Audio

|Weekly sequence |Topics and Activities |Readings/Resources |Assessment Tasks |
|Week 1 |Lecture: introduction to ACO1010; introduction to assessments; introduction to|Materials are provided on WebCT/Blackboard and in |Assessment 1: MIDI Sequencing assignment |
| |Soundpunk forums; Rob’s Top 5 Technologies – an introduction. |tutorials |Assessment 4: Soundpunk forum |
| |Tutorial: introduction to Mac labs; software setup; Soundpunk registration | | |
|Week 2 |Lecture: Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) - MIDI Notes; MIDI | |Assessment 1: MIDI Sequencing assignment |
| |Control Messages; MIDI Control Devices | | |
| |Tutorial: Recording and editing MIDI in Garageband and Logic | | |
|Week 3 |Lecture: Introduction to MIDI Sequencers; Standard MIDI Files; Apple Loops | |Assessment 1: MIDI Sequencing assignment |
| |format | | |
| |Tutorial: Importing and editing Apple Loops in Garageband and Logic | | |
|Week 4 |Lecture: Electronic Musical Instruments - Human-machine Interface; Real-time | |Assessment 1: MIDI Sequencing assignment |
| |control; Novel devices | |Assessment 4: Soundpunk forum |
| |Tutorial: MIDI continuous controllers – pitch bend and modulation in | | |
| |Garageband and Logic | | |
|Week 5 |Lecture: Music on the Internet - music sales, downloads; Online composition | |Assessment 1: MIDI Sequencing assignment |
| |tools; Online music education tools | |Assessment 4: Soundpunk forum |
| |Tutorial: mixing and automation in Garageband and Logic | | |
|Week 6 |Lecture: Scoring, Notation, Print Music; Automated Scoring (from audio files) | |Assessment 1 submission |
| |Tutorial: Sibelius part 1 – creating a title page; setting score parameters; | |Assessment 2: Notation exercise |
| |entering notes and rests; adding bars | | |
|Week 7 |Lecture: Digital Audio Part 1 - an introduction to Sampling Theorem. Basic | | |
| |Sampling Theory; Hard Disk Recording; Audio file formats – WAV, AIFF | | |
| |Tutorial: Sibelius part 2 – adding expression and dynamics markings; adding | |Assessment 2: Notation exercise |
| |lyrics; creating a pdf document | | |
|Week 8 |Lecture: Digital Audio Part 2 - Non-destructive Editing Basics; Reading | |Assessment 2 submission |
| |Waveforms | |Assessment 3A editing exercise 1 |
| |Tutorial: Pro Tools part 1 – moving, duplicating, separating regions; adding | | |
| |fades | | |
|Week 9 |Lecture: Digital Audio Part 3 - Non-destructive Editing Part 2; Fades; | |Assessment 3B editing exercise 2 |
| |Remixing techniques | | |
| |Tutorial: Pro Tools part 2 – more advanced region separation; work on | | |
| |assessment tasks | | |
|Week 10 |Lecture: Digital Audio Part 4 - Digital Mixing. Mixing concepts and signal | |Assessment 3A and 3B submission |
| |flow; 3-dimensional mixing; Digital Mixing and Automation | |Assessment 3C mixing exercise |
| |Tutorial: Pro Tools part 3 – mixing and automation | |Assessment 4 completed |
|Week 11 |Lecture: Digital Audio Part 5 - Digital Signal Processing and Plug-Ins; DSP | |Assessment 3C mixing exercise |
| |Basics – (non)real-time DSP; Studio Effects Processors | | |
| |Tutorial: Pro Tools part 4 – effect processing plug-ins; basic mastering | | |
| |settings | | |
|Week 12 |Lecture: Three ground-breaking apps - Melodyne; Max/MSP; Metasynth | |Assessment 3C submission |
| |Tutorial: time to complete assessment 3C | | |

Assessment details: ACO1010 Technology of Music and Audio

Table B

|Assessment |Assessment Tasks: Descriptions |Learning Outcomes |Assessment |Weighting (%) |Due date |
| | | |Criteria | | |
|1. |MIDI Sequencing Exercise |Learning outcomes 1, 2 and 3 |See attached assessment criteria |30% |April 4th |
| |Produce a short original piece using MIDI and Apple Loops | | | | |
|2. |Score Notation Exercise |Learning outcomes 2 and 3 |See attached assessment criteria |20% |April 24th |
| |Replicate an existing chart for piano and voice | | | | |
|3. |Audio Editing and Mixing Exercises |Learning outcomes 1, 2 and 3 |See attached assessment criteria |30% | |
| |3A – basic editing exercise | | |(5%) |May 9th |
| |3B – advanced editing exercise | | |(10%) |May 9th |
| |3C – mixing and effects plug-ins exercise | | |(15%) |May 30th |
|4. |Soundpunk Discussion Forums |Learning outcomes 1 and 4 |See attached assessment criteria |20% |May 16th |
| |Contribute 8 or more posts over 8 weeks | | | | |

Submission procedure

HARD COPY SUBMISSION: Assessments 1, 2 and 3 may be submitted in hard copy on either (a) data CD-R, or (b) USB memory stick. CD-R’s must be clearly labelled and submitted in a hard ‘jewel’ case. Paper or plastic soft CD sleeves are not permitted - work will be returned to the student for resubmission. Jewel cases will be returned to the student and should be re-used for each assessment to conserve waste. USB sticks will be returned to the student and should be re-used for each assessment.

Disks must be placed in a paper envelope with an attached signed copy of the CATA Assessment Cover Sheet, available here: Plastic sleeves are not permitted.

• FOOTSCRAY PARK: submit directly to the lecturer in a tutorial class, or submit to Robert Bell’s mailbox, Building E, level 2, box #115 • KINDRED STUDIOS: submit directly to the lecturer in a tutorial class, or submit via the submission slot in the door of room K2.25

ELECTRONIC SUBMISSION: Assessments 1, 2 and 3 may be submitted electronically in .zip format to a secure online ‘drop-box’ via WebCT. Email submission is permitted in the event there are technical problems with WebCT.

Assessment 4 is completed online at, an industry-based discussion forum that connects students with like-minded peers around Australia and forms part of the students’ LiWC learning.

Scholarly writing, plagiarism and copyright

An academic course of study requires students to source information in a number of different formats including factual information, data and analysis, reasoned arguments and the insights of others. Part of what it means to be a ‘scholar’ is to engage with the work of others, for example, to extend or refine one’s own ideas, critique the work of others, or test and extend theories. However, remember to give credit where credit is due, that is, acknowledging the work of others in your own work by using the correct referencing system. Failure to acknowledge other people’s work appropriately may be regarded as plagiarism or academic misconduct. VU deals with plagiarism according to the Academic Honesty and Preventing Plagiarism policy (

Copyright law gives the owner of text, photos, pictures, films and recordings the rights to control reproduction, publication, communication, performance and adaptation of their work. All students and staff of Victoria University are bound by the requirements of the Copyright Act (1968) when using third party copyright material in the course of their research and study.

For information on copyright entitlements and responsibilities for study and research please see Referencing requirements within this unit

The referencing convention that is applicable to this unit is Harvard.

Academic writing and referencing guidelines:

Two VU online support sites on academic writing and appropriate referencing are:



Failure to meet assessment deadline(s)

Any option for late assessment submission must be discussed and agreed upon with the unit co-ordinator.

Late submissions where an extension or Special Consideration have not been granted are:

- Up to one week late – maximum mark capped at 65% per assessment

- More than one week late – maximum mark capped at 50% per assessment, and no feedback given

Extensions, Alternative Examinations and Special Consideration

If you are not able to submit your work by the submission date or able to attend the final examination, and there are grounds (medical, personal hardship, extenuating circumstances, etc.) for not attending the examination or submitting your work on time, or for your performance being impaired, you may submit an application for an extension, an alternative exam or for special consideration. Please consult your unit co-ordinator for the appropriate form. These forms are available on the student forms webpage ( under ‘Assignment cover sheets and extensions’ and ‘Exams and results’. You may need to contact a student counsellor to assist you with this process. For further information please see

Supplementary Assessment

Supplementary Assessment may be available to students who have marginally failed a task, have not demonstrated competency for a unit, or who were successful in a claim for special consideration. If you wish to be considered for Supplementary Assessment you should refer to the policy
Forms are available at

The student assessment policy is available at

Student Complaints Resolution

Victoria University has a Student Complaints Resolution policy to guide you through the steps you can take to resolve issues related to your time at the University. If your issue relates to your study, the first step is to raise it directly with your college or academic staff. You also have the option to make a confidential appointment with a Student Advocate if you are unsure how to approach the situation. For more information go to

Succeeding at Victoria University

As a university of opportunity, Victoria University is committed to providing all students with the opportunity to succeed in their studies.

If you require any support during the semester you are advised to speak to your unit co-ordinator, course co-ordinator or class teacher. There is also additional support and guidance for students. The VU Student Portal ( provides information on a range of student services with which you should become familiar, as shown in the table below.

Table C

|General student support services |Course structures |
|Services for international students |Calendars and timetables |
|Services for students with disabilities and/or medical conditions |Student email |
|The Library |Assignment cover sheets a forms |
|Academic development and support |Students’ rights and responsibilities |
|Student life and student associations |Social networking at VU |
| |Student complaints |
| |Student advocacy |

Providing feedback: Student Evaluation System (SES)

Your feedback on your experiences within this unit is important, because it assists VU to improve the learning experience of units and courses for future students.

You are encouraged to provide informal feedback directly to your unit and course co-ordinators. The University also collects your anonymous feedback systematically through the Student Evaluation Survey (SES), the name for the two combined student evaluation instruments: the Student Evaluation of Unit (SEU) and the Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET). Students are asked to complete the SEU and SET near the end of each unit. SEU and SET results are anonymous, and are not made available to the teaching staff in the unit until after the University has released your final grades.
|Examples of actions taken recently to improve this unit, based on student feedback |
|As well as Student Evaluation Surveys, students are encouraged to provide feedback via the soundpunk online discussion forum that forms |
|assessment 4. As a direct result of student feedback, recent improvements include: |
|Closer alignment of weekly lecture topics and content with tutorials of the same week, and assessment currently being undertaken |
|Increased interaction and discussion in lectures between the lecturer and students |
|Changing the content of assessment 3 to use music that is more appealing to a wider audience – previous versions of the assessment used music |
|that numerous students did not enjoy listening to; this has been replaced |
|Breaking assessment 3 down into smaller segments, each progressively assessed, in order to (a) receive marks and feedback over several weeks |
|rather than waiting until the end of semester, and (b) make the assessments more manageable and less daunting |
|Software upgrades to the latest versions to ensure the unit is current and up to date |

Unit Guide Version Number: 1.0

Last Validation Date: 25 February 2014[pic]


Unit Name: Technology of Music and Audio

Insert Unit Code: ACO1010

Year: 2014

Semester: 1

Location: Footscray Park, Kindred Studios

Prepared by: Robert Bell…...

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